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Becoming an employer A guide for personal budget holders in Leeds This publication was produced by Adult Social Care Communications, Leeds City Council Contributors Members of Leeds City Council Adult
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Becoming an employer A guide for personal budget holders in Leeds This publication was produced by Adult Social Care Communications, Leeds City Council Contributors Members of Leeds City Council Adult Social Care, ASIST, Free to Live (the Leeds personal budgets peer support group) with the kind assistance of personal budgets and direct payments users in Leeds. Design by: dg3 design Photos: Chapter 6 tab, plus pages 3, 5, 11, 16, 21, 31, 35, 41 John Birdsall/Press Association Images Disclaimer Leeds City Council Adult Social Care cannot take responsibility for an individual s non-compliance with any of the legal responsibilities outlined in this guide. Every effort has been made to ensure this information is correct and up-to-date. However, we recommend that when following the advice in this guide you check with your Personal Budget Advisor to ensure legal and administrative guidelines have not changed since date of publication. Leeds City Council Communications (Social Care) This publication can be provided in large print, Braille and audio please telephone If you do not speak English and need help in understanding this document, please telephone and state the name of your language. We will then put you through to an interpreter. For general information about adult social care telephone Customer Services on Textphone: or write to: Adult Social Care enquiries Leeds City Council Level 2 Merrion House 110 Merrion Centre Merrion Way Leeds LS2 8QB Becoming an employer A guide for personal budget holders in Leeds One of the many benefits of having a personal budget is being able to employ your own personal assistant (PA) to help you live more independently. This simple guide talks you through every step, from recruiting a PA to what to do once they are working for you. And always remember, you re not alone your Personal Budget Advisor can help you as much or as little as you wish. This guide is about what you must do to make sure you stay within the law what you should do to protect yourself and your rights ideas to help things run smoothly who can help The thought of becoming an employer might seem a bit daunting at first, and there are some important legal rules you ll need to follow. But don t let that put you off! Many people in Leeds are already enjoying the flexibility and independence of employing their own PAs. You can view short video clips on YouTube starring local people talking about their experiences using PAs (www.youtube.com search on Personal Budgets in Leeds ) or contact Free to Live, the Leeds Personal Budgets Peer Support Group (see the Contacts page), for a chat with people like yourself who use a personal budget and employ PAs. There are sample forms in Chapter 6 which you can copy and use. Check with your Personal Budget Advisor before using them. All forms and templates are available electronically at 1 Introduction This is a reference guide, so there s no need to read it cover-to-cover. Just refer to each chapter when you need it. There is a checklist at the end of each chapter which highlights the most important points. Take your time, and remember you re not alone! There are lots of people and organisations who can help. Turn to the Contacts page for their details. Who is your Personal Budget Advisor? This guide often refers to your Personal Budget Advisor. This just means the person, or people, who normally advise you about your personal budget and/or employing people. Your advisor might be ASIST (the Leeds Personal Budget and Direct Payments Support Service) or someone else. If you would like to use ASIST, and are eligible for social care support, contact them on Alternatively, there are many other organisations that can provide help and advice about employing people see below for their details. Advisors at asist asist stands for the Actively Seeking Independence Support Team. It is the free, independent, user-led support service for people using a personal budget or direct payments to employ a personal assistant in Leeds. It is free to access for any social care customer using a personal budget or direct payments. Your advisor can help you with: recruitment, interviews and how to supervise your PA(s) arranging reference and Criminal Record Bureau (CRB) checks support with disciplinary and grievance procedures arranging access to essential short courses such as moving and handling or child safeguarding health and safety, forms and contracts etc managing your finances, including providing a payroll administration service, advice on becoming registered as an employer with HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) and on setting up your own recording system. Tel textphone Becoming an employer 3 Introduction Some questions and answers about this guide What if I use more than one PA? Unless specified otherwise, the information in this guide is the same whether you employ one PA or several. If you employ five PAs or more, current law requires that you arrange access to a pension plan. Ring the ACAS employment helpline for advice about this (see the Contacts page) or speak to your Personal Budget Advisor. I am going to be using an agency rather than employing a PA myself. Is this guide still relevant? No, most of it will not be relevant to you. You d be better off with our booklet, A guide to buying services and support, which talks about using agencies. Speak to your Personal Budget Advisor or care manager about how you can get a copy. How can I get this information in a different format? Contact Adult Social Care Customer Services on if English is not your first language and you would like to speak to an interpreter about the information in this guide. This guide is available electronically at 4 Main Contents Chapter 1 Getting started: how to recruit a PA 7 Chapter 2 When your PA starts work 23 Chapter 3 Managing your PA s time 29 Chapter 4 Paying your PA 33 Chapter 5 If there s a problem 37 Chapter 6 Examples and templates you can use 41 Recruitment Chapter 1 Getting started: how to recruit a PA Contents Writing the job description 7 Get the right insurance 8 Writing and placing an advertisement 8 Dealing with the replies 12 Interviewing people 13 Once you have decided on someone 14 Once you have offered someone the job 17 Chapter 1 Getting started: how to recruit a PA This chapter guides you through all the steps to employing a PA including writing the job description, advertising the job, holding interviews and selecting the right person. There is also advice about what to do once you have chosen someone, to make sure everything is ready for them to start work. Writing the job description If you want to recruit a PA, the first thing you need to do is write a job description. You'll need a job description even if you know the person you intend to employ. The thought of writing a job description might sound a little daunting, but your Personal Budget Adviser can help. In Chapter 6 of this guide you'll find examples of other people's job descriptions to help you think about what you want to say. Think about the main tasks that your PA will be doing, and decide what kind of person is needed. Questions you could ask yourself might include: 100 Are there lots of repetitive tasks which will require patience? Will the person need to be strong (will they be using lifting equipment or doing lots of moving and handling)? Do I want my PA to show initiative and be confident enough to make their own decisions? Would I prefer someone with a lot of previous experience in this type of role? Do I need them to have any particular training? Will they be helping to look after any pets? (If yes, you should specify what kind of animal it is.) Will there be a Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) check arranged for this post (see page 15)? If so, you must mention this in the job description and the advertisement. The fact that the successful applicant will need to be registered with the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) (see page 15). 7 Chapter 1 Getting started: how to recruit a PA Specifying someone of a particular gender, ethnicity, religion etc. It's very important to avoid any wording that could be seen as discriminatory in the job description or advertisement. If you are advertising for a PA and would only feel comfortable with someone of a particular gender, ethnicity, religion etc., get advice from your Personal Budget Advisor or ACAS (see Contacts page). There is a lot of helpful advice about recruiting people, including how to avoid accidentally using wording that might be seen as discriminatory, on the BusinessLink website see the Contacts page. References You'll also need to ask people to provide references you can mention this in the job description or the advertisement, or both. See the section about references later in this chapter. Get the right insurance Once you have decided to employ a PA you will need to take out the following insurance before you advertise: Employer's Liability Insurance Public Liability Insurance You can usually get both of these together in a comprehensive package, specially designed for you, which normally works out cheaper speak to your Personal Budget Advisor. There is more information about insurance on page 26. Writing and placing an advertisement Now that you've written the job description, it's time to advertise unless you already know someone who would like to work for you and has the skills you need! If you already know who you want to employ, and don't need to advertise, skip on to 'Once you have decided on someone' (page 14). But remember, even if you employ someone you know, you are still legally an employer, so you will still need to follow the other procedures described in this guide. 8 Becoming an employer Who pays for the advertisement? The cost of advertising can be included in your personal budget. How people will apply Before writing the advertisement, decide how you will want people to apply for the job. There are two main ways: a. Ask them to write to you saying why they want the job and enclosing their CV, or b. Ask them to fill out an application form and send it to you. If you are going to ask people to write to you with their CV, you could save time by saying this in the advertisement and including a postal address. But, unless you are using an address provided by your Personal Budget Advisor (for example, ASIST) or a PO box address, you might not feel comfortable giving out your home address at this stage. If you are going to ask people to fill out an application form, you'll need to prepare one in advance, so it's ready to send when you start to get responses to the advertisement. Don't forget to put an address on the form either your own, or the address you are using for correspondence. There is a sample application form in Chapter 6 that you could use. Now write the advertisement in clear, simple language with just the basic information, plus a final closing date. You could include a statement saying that if applicants have not heard back by a certain date, they have not been successful. If you decide not to include your address, try to include general information about the area where you live, e.g. LS11 or 'South Leeds'. Now that you've written the job description, it's time to advertise. 9 Chapter 1 Getting started: how to recruit a PA For example: * see page 15 for information about CRB checks and ISA registration. In Chapter 6 of this guide you'll find some further examples of advertisements for PAs, to help you when you're writing yours. The closing date should leave enough time for people to contact you for more information (see below), then send you their CV or application form. Two or three weeks from the closing date is usually enough. Next, you'll need to place the advertisement. Here are some ideas for places to advertise: Local post office or shop This is a good way to reach people who live near you. It's often easier to employ someone local. Arrangements can be more flexible, and people are less likely to have transport problems. It is normally cheap to put a small advertisement in a shop window, but check how long they display the ad for you may need to extend it after a certain amount of time. Newspaper This is a good way to reach a wide range of candidates, depending on whether it's a local, regional or national paper, but it can be quite expensive. They will tell you the price before you place the advertisement, and you'll have the option of reducing the wording to bring the price down. 10 Becoming an employer 11 Chapter 1 Getting started: how to recruit a PA Job Centres Your local job centre will advertise free for you and may also be able help with drawing up the advertisement and giving you a room to hold interviews. But remember that if you only rely on this method you will not be including people who already have a job in your search. Other places Some other organisations, such as recruitment agencies and universities, will also offer help with advertising and interviewing, though not always for free. Check with your Personal Budget Advisor. If you are already supported by ASIST, they will normally be able to help you with advertising and a place for interviews. Dealing with the replies When people contact you to say they are interested in applying for the job, here's what to do. If you decided to use an application form: Ask the person for their full name, address and contact telephone number. If you use , ask for their address too. Make a note of this information and send them a copy of the job description, and a copy of the application form with a reminder of the deadline date. If you decided not to use an application form: Ask the person to send you their CV and a covering letter by the deadline date. You will need to give them an address to send this to either your own, or the address you are using for correspondence. Remember to get back to people promptly don't forget you have already set them a closing date! 12 Becoming an employer Interviewing people After the deadline date has passed, look through the applications and decide who you want to interview. Do this by checking the applications against the job description, deciding which ones fit best. Then contact these people and ask them to attend an interview. It is better to have the interviews away from your home if possible check if your Personal Budget Advisor can provide a room for you or ask if you can hold them at the local Job Centre. Interview questions Now it's time to decide on some questions that you want to ask in the interview. Base these on the job description you created. Ask people about their previous work experience, qualifications and why they want to work for you. Describe the kinds of tasks you will expect them to do. It's a good idea to check if they smoke, if this bothers you (and let them know if you smoke). If you have pets, you should mention them, as some people are allergic to, or dislike certain animals. There are some sample interview questions in Chapter 6. You could ask a friend, relative or your Personal Budget Advisor to sit in on the interview and help take notes. But remember that, as the employer, the decision about who to employ must be yours. At the interview Remember, you are in charge. Greet the applicant confidently, and try to be friendly, relaxed but firm throughout the interview. Start off by telling the applicant a bit about the job. Explain that there will be time for them to ask questions at the end. Remember to ask everyone you interview the same questions. It's fairer, and you'll be able to compare the answers more easily! Talk through any physical requirements of the job (e.g. moving and handling, use of lifting equipment) and discuss whether any training would be required before they could start. Let them know that the cost of any essential training would be covered. Talk about the importance of reliability in this kind of job you must be able to trust your PA to arrive on time, and if they know they might have to be late one day, they must give you enough notice to arrange a replacement. 13 Chapter 1 Getting started: how to recruit a PA At the end of the interview Finish off by discussing: pay and conditions working times or rotas when and how the applicant will hear if they are successful or not that you will take up references, in writing, before you can offer someone the job that the preferred applicant will be asked to provide proof they can legally work in the UK (all employers now have to ask for this by law) that a Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) check will be arranged for the preferred applicant, even if they have had one done in a previous job. They will not have to pay for this or organise it themselves (see page 15). that the preferred applicant will need to be registered with the Independent Safeguarding Authority (from November 2010 see page 15). Once you have decided on someone When you have decided on an applicant, you should contact them but don't offer them the job yet. Thank them for attending the interview and explain that you will now have to carry out a series of standard checks, including taking up references and arranging a Criminal Record Bureau (CRB) check. Here is a list of what needs to be checked. Your Personal Budget Advisor can help with all of these things. There is more detailed information on each of these on the following pages. 1. References 2. Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) check 3. Proof they are registered with the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) from November Proof they can legally work in the UK 5. Proof they have a current, valid driving licence if their job will involve any driving 6. Training if needed Don't forget, if you employ more than one PA, you must ask each person for the same information, and keep copies on file. 14 Becoming an employer References It's helpful to have the opinion of another person who already knows the applicant and whether they are likely to be suitable for the job. In their application form, CV or letter, each applicant should have given the name and address of two people who could provide a reference. Where possible, one of these must be the person's current or last employer. Writing to a referee (the person who will be giving the reference) to ask for a written reference is the best way of getting the most information. You can ask specific questions and also send them a copy of the job description so they can see what the job involves. Ask them to reply by a certain date. There is a sample referee letter in Chapter 6. Criminal Record Bureau check You will need to request a Criminal Record Bureau (CRB) check on the applicant to make sure they do not have prior convictions that might suggest they are unsuitable for a job as a PA. Your Personal Budget Advisor can advise you about this. Leeds Adult Social Care will cover the cost of the CRB check. When you request a CRB check, your Personal Budget Advisor will usually arrange it on your behalf, unless you would prefer to do it yourself. If you decide to do it yourself, your Personal Budget Advisor will ask you to fill in a disclaimer saying you will take responsibility for doing it. If the check is done on your behalf, you won't be told any details about the person's background, but you will be told if there are any relevant prior convictions which mean that you may not offer them the job. Independent Safeguarding Authority registration There is a new rule that, from November 2010, any new employees working with children or vulnerable adults must be registered with the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA). You don t have to check that someone you want to employ is registered. But your PA can check this for themselves, either online by visiting the ISA website or by calling the ISA helpline see the Contacts page for details. It is the PA's responsibility to register (if they haven t already) and to cover the cost of this. You can also visit the website or call the helpline to check that your employee i
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